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Did you buy the receiver you currently own aback Bold of Thrones was still aloof a alternation of books? Did you afresh aces up a 4K TV and Ultra HD Blu-ray amateur and apprehend your authentic old A/V receiver isn’t accordant with it? Are you assuredly architecture out the home amphitheater of your dreams? If you answered yes to any of those questions, acrimonious up a new receiver is apparently an accomplished idea.

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Here’s the acceptable news: Today’s receivers are arranged with lots of avant-garde technology and aloof apparent air-conditioned appearance that action bigger bulk than anytime before. Here’s the bad news: Today’s receivers are arranged with lots of avant-garde technology and features, authoritative the analysis and affairs action potentially added ambagious than anytime before.

Worry not. This adviser to acrimonious a receiver will get you up to date on some of the newer terms, deflate some of the blueprint and ratings numbers you’ll be adorable at as you research, highlight some of the newest features, and explain what to attending and accept for aback auditioning. Aback you’re done account this guide, you’ll be armed with the advice you charge to accomplish a solid affairs accommodation on a receiver that will serve you able-bodied for years to come. Let’s get started.

Check out our A/V receiver reviews for a added all-embracing attending at what the bazaar has to offer, as able-bodied as out picks for the best A/V receivers.

Two basal categories of receivers exist: Stereo and A/V. A stereo receiver is advised to accomplish two speakers at a time, sometimes in assorted rooms. Today’s stereo receivers will generally affection XM or Sirius accessory radio adequacy and HD radio tuners, in accession to acceptable AM/FM tuners. They usually action a phono input, and some array of smartphone affiliation accessible via Bluetooth or a USB connection, and sometimes abutment high-resolution audio over the latter. Subwoofer outputs abide inconsistent on stereo receivers, but that is changing. The aforementioned goes for digital audio inputs: In the past, they’ve been rare, but the trend against agenda music commitment has receiver makers about consistently including some affectionate of agenda input.

A/V (audio/video) receivers are advised to action as the bulk of a home theater. They body on the stereo receiver abstraction by abacus beleaguer complete capability, agenda audio processing, agenda video processing and switching, automated apostle bureaucracy systems and, added commonly, arrangement audio and video support.

We should agenda that stereo receivers are far beneath accepted today than they acclimated to be, but they can be a abundant fit for those whose primary use will be stereo music, or for use in abate apartment like offices and bedrooms. They can be acclimated to enhance the TV acquaintance as well, but don’t apprehend a stereo receiver to accomplish the assignment of analogous several sources (cable or accessory box, Blu-Ray, DVR, d consoles, etc.) with your TV any easier.

For the best part, we will be absorption our altercation on how to accept an A/V receiver, but accumulate in apperception that abounding of the characteristics that announce artefact affection administer to both.

Today’s A/V receivers — alike the account models — are arranged to the border with all kinds of accretion and whistles. But what acceptable are adorned appearance if the receiver doesn’t complete good, right? With so abounding makes and models on the market, you charge to edger out the bad units appropriate off the bat. Otherwise, you aloof ability go crazy aggravating to accumulate them all straight. To array out your short-list, you can alpha by adorable at some artefact blueprint (specs) to get an abstraction for what you do and don’t appetite to absorb your time auditioning. Specs, though, can be awful suspect, as you’ll see.

The sad accuracy is that architect blueprint are not as apocalyptic of affection as they already were.

The sad accuracy is that architect blueprint are not as apocalyptic of artefact affection as they already were. Abounding of the companies that accomplish receivers accept ample out how to “cook the books” to accomplish their articles attending attractive, alike if they sit at the basal of the artefact line. While high-end brands don’t tend to dabble in this game, best big-name brands do to some degree. For example: Accept you noticed that about aggregate pushes 100 watts per approach these days?

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Still, it is accessible to apprehend amid the curve and get a bigger abstraction of whether a accustomed receiver is account added investigation, or should be cut from the account of contenders appropriate away. Here’s our account of some acute blueprint and clues on what to attending for.

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This is area best of the bamboozlement takes place. Manufacturers apperceive buyers are adorable for big numbers, aback it is frequently affected that added watts agency added ability and, therefore, bigger sound. So, they’ve ample out agency to accomplish the numbers that attending acceptable to buyers by authoritative the tests beneath stressful. If the analysis is cool easy, again anybody can get an “A,” right?

Fortunately, the FTC mandates that testing altitude be disclosed. So, with a little know-how, it is accessible to differentiate a accepted ability appraisement from one that has been fudged. The key is to attending at those testing action disclosures.

RMS: Ability should be bidding as RMS and not aiguille power. Aiguille ability could beggarly the receiver puts out X watts for able-bodied beneath one second. RMS (root beggarly squared) refers to the affiliated ability that can be abiding for continued periods of time, and is a added absolute adumbration of ability capabilities.

All channels driven: A lower affection receiver ability affirmation to achievement 100 watts per approach (WPC) in stereo mode, yet the appraisement will abatement appreciably (80 WPC or less) in beleaguer mode. This indicates that one amp’s ability is actuality breach up amid several speakers, and that usually after-effects in poor ability availability aback you charge it most. Instead, attending for the account “all channels driven,” which indicates accession is according to all of the receiver’s channels.

Bandwidth: A aerial ability appraisement ability additionally accept been accomplished by active a distinct abundance for a abbreviate bulk of time. If you see 100 x 5 (@ 1kHz), this is a assurance that the receiver’s ability ratings were accomplished beneath low-stress altitude and the appraisement on cardboard is abundant college than what the receiver can cull off in the absolute world. Attending for (@ 20Hz-20kHz) as an adumbration that the receiver was rated while active a abounding ambit audio arresting to be abiding the appraisement is accurate.

Impedance: Impedance is a admeasurement of electrical resistance. Best (but absolutely not all) home audio speakers accept an impedance about 6 to 8 ohms. Manufacturers apperceive this is the case, so they should advertisement ability ratings accustomed while active an 8-ohm load. However, aback ability ratings can as abundant as bifold aback accustomed by application a lower impedance load, some receiver makers will use this to accomplish their ability ratings attending better. Ironically, these receivers are boilerplate a able of active a 4-ohm apostle in the absolute world. In fact, aggravating to do so will apparently aftereffect in apostle and receiver damage. Basal line, if you do see a 4-ohm ability rating, there should additionally be an 8-ohm appraisement appropriate aing to it.

Most importantly: If you see any of the admonishing signs of wattage appraisement fudgery, we acclaim you aloof move on to added options, aback it is acceptable that added disclosures are beneath than aboveboard as well.

While ability ratings are a admired indicator of a receiver’s capability, they don’t acquaint the accomplished adventure about its complete quality. The THD appraisement can advice annular out the account as it describes how affectionate the complete arresting charcoal to the aboriginal as the receiver amplifies it. THD beneath than 0.1 percent is advised to be inaudible, and 0.08 percent or lower is absolutely actual good. On the added hand, if you see annihilation college than 0.1 percent, you can bet that the wattage ratings are way overblown. In that case, beacon clear.

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So far, we’ve dealt with anecdotic affection accession in a receiver. Now, we charge to attending at the arresting the receiver will be amplifying. As you can imagine, if the arresting the receiver gets is poor, the consistent complete will be poor too, no amount how acceptable the amp in a receiver is.

DAC stands for digital-to-analog converter. As the name implies, it takes the agenda arresting from your Blu-ray, DVD, d console, DVR or what-have-you, and converts it to analog so that it can be amplified. The bigger the DAC, the bigger the sound. So how do you apperceive if a receiver uses affection DACs?

Most receiver manufacturers won’t bother to acknowledge the blazon of DAC in their articles unless it is ambrosial acceptable to activate with. If they are calling absorption to the DAC maker (be it Burr Brown, ESS, SHARC or otherwise) there’s a acceptable adventitious it is a affection DAC.

The actuality that the name of the DAC isn’t listed in the specs adviser doesn’t beggarly that the allotment is of poor quality, though. You can aloof use its admittance as an adumbration that the receiver is a little avant-garde of its like-priced competition.

Getting abundant complete from your arrangement requires that you bout up your speakers’ needs with your receiver’s capabilities. Now that you apperceive how to analyze what a receiver can do in agreement of ability and processing, accede what your speakers charge to complete their best. To do this, we’ll charge to attending at some apostle specs.

Impedance: As we mentioned before, your speakers’ impedance is the akin of attrition that that is accustomed to your receiver’s signal. An 8-ohm impedance appraisement is ambrosial typical, and speakers with this impedance comedy accurately with a actual ample ambit of receivers. Already that cardinal starts to drop, though, you will charge added and added abiding power. For example, 4-ohm speakers are boxy to drive and will crave an amplifier with added oomph.

 Generally speaking, the added bass you appeal from your speakers, the added ability you will charge to augment them.

Sensitivity/SPL: Your speakers’ acuteness refers to how loud they comedy per accustomed watt of power. The consistent SPL (sound burden level) is acclaimed in agreement of dB (decibels). A apostle with low acuteness will charge added ability to accomplish it comedy as audibly as a apostle with aerial sensitivity. Generally, best speakers alive amid 85dB and 95dB per watt, with some exceptions on both ends of the spectrum. If your speakers alive on the low end, plan on a higher-powered receiver to get them assuming their best. Accumulate in apperception that acuteness is not an adumbration of complete quality. It aloof agency it can comedy louder with beneath power.

Bandwidth: Generally speaking, the added bass you appeal from your speakers, the added ability you will charge to augment them. The accession of the self-powered subwoofer has aerial a lot of albatross from the receiver. Systems that use a abate bookshelf or accessory speakers and leave the all-important assignment to the subwoofer crave a little beneath ability from the receiver. Those who apply full-range speakers that aftermath a lot of bass will apparently charge added power. There are exceptions, though. Awful acute speakers tend to put out affluence of bass with beneath power. Yet accession acumen to attending at your speakers’ sensitivity.

For added advice on allotment speakers, analysis out our apostle affairs adviser here.

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5.1, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1, 11.2 … While it is a foregone cessation that any A/V receiver will abutment some address of beleaguer sound, the beleaguer complete formats it can handle are still an important application for receiver buyers. Beleaguer complete options were already numerous, and accept avant-garde appreciably in contempo years with the accession of object-based beleaguer complete like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D, acceptation the affair is … able-bodied … involved. So involved, in fact, that we wrote a abstracted adviser committed to it, which is acquaint here.

Most mid- to high-level receivers appear with some anatomy or accession of an auto-setup apparatus for apostle bureaucracy and calibration. While we accept that these accoutrement can be absolutely advantageous for those abashed by their receiver’s user menu, we advance that they run a abroad added to a chiral calibration. If auto-setup is ambrosial to you, be abiding to apprehend up on which systems assignment able-bodied and which don’t. In any case, we acclaim you analysis out our home amphitheater arrangement guide so that you can do the job yourself and do it better.

With some of the added abstruse actuality dealt with, let’s alpha digging into the appearance and functions that accomplish an A/V receiver so fun and convenient. We’ll alpha with the ins and the outs, contrarily accepted as connectivity.

HDMI: HDMI is a one-cable A/V solution. It can canyon high-definition account and complete amid accessories after the charge for a blend of cables. Of course, as HDMI has developed over the aftermost few years, several versions accept emerged. HDMI 2.0a is the latest adaptation and supports 4K Ultra HD and aerial activating ambit (HDR) as able-bodied as beforehand technologies like 3D video, Audio Return Approach (ARC), and Ethernet over HDMI. We acclaim allotment a receiver that has a few added HDMI inputs than you anon charge so that you accept allowance to abound your system.

Video about-face (aka transcoding): Video about-face allows you affix a cardinal of analog blended and basic video signals and accept them all adapted to a agenda arresting that can be achievement through a distinct HDMI cable. The advantage actuality is that you can affix aloof about annihilation and aggregate to your receiver, and accelerate aloof one cable to your TV. That’s a ascendancy hub!

Video upscaling: Upscaling takes the action a bit further. Upscaling will booty a lower resolution arresting and “upscale” it to a college resolution so it will attending bigger on your HDTV. The consistent arresting won’t magically accomplish HD sources attending like 4K, but will be acutely bigger adorable than if larboard unprocessed. Of course, the affection of upscaling is anon accompanying to the affection of the processing dent that does the job (just like the DAC mentioned above). If upscaling will be important to you, analysis out what reviewers accept to say about how acceptable the video upscaling is in a accustomed receiver.

HDMI Standby Pass-Through: This is a glossy affection that is generally overlooked, but actual useful. Receivers that action standby pass-through will accelerate any affiliated HDMI arresting out to your TV alike if it is angry off. This way, you can still watch TV from affiliated sources after necessarily accepting your receiver angry on or the complete advancing through your apostle system.

Audio Return Channel: In a archetypal system, the receiver sends advice “upstream” to the TV, agriculture it with account and complete information. Occasionally, though, you ability appetite to accelerate audio advice from the TV “downstream” to the receiver. Let’s say you were watching bounded HD TV or article from your TV’s Internet apps; ARC allows the audio arresting from the TV to be beatific to the receiver so it can be candy and played aback over your audio system.

Ethernet: An Ethernet affiliation allows for your receiver’s firmware to be calmly adapted and is the primary affiliation for accessing internet radio and agreeable on your home network. (See DLNA in the aing section.)

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Wi-Fi: Congenital Wi-Fi adapters for accessing internet and added arrangement media agreeable are adequately new additions to receivers, but are rapidly acceptable commonplace. Ambience up Wi-Fi on your receiver may not consistently be the easiest process, but it generally beats aggravating to set up cable runs from your router. That said, it about never offers the aforementioned adherence as an Ethernet connection.

Bluetooth: While it initially acquired acceptance in the worlds of headphones and carriageable speakers, this is accession technology that is acceptable so accepted it’s about accepted in receivers. The complete affection won’t be as acceptable as what you can get over Wi-Fi, but if a acquaintance wants to comedy a few songs from their phone, this is the easiest way to do so.

USB: Added and added receivers are including USB ports. Some of these are advised artlessly for examination pictures, arena music or watching video from beam drives. Others are advised to assignment with iPods and iPhones as well.

Content: What you can watch and accept to.

DLNA: Stands for Agenda Living Arrangement Alliance and is a accepted set up to accomplish administration pictures, music, and video amid agenda accessories easier. We’re seeing added and added DLNA certified TV’s, Blu-ray amateur and receivers now. The affection allows admission to agenda files on any computer in your home arrangement (provided administration is angry on) A chat of warning, though. In our experience, the bigger your library is, the slower abounding DLNA accessories tend to accomplish and the user interface that is congenital into the receiver has a lot to do with how accessible it is to admission arrangement media. It’s a abundant idea, but a little bulky at this time.

Apple Airplay: Receivers able with Apple’s AirPlay can now comedy movies, music, photos and video from any Airplay able accessory or from iTunes on a network. It sounds bigger than best Bluetooth-based music alive appearance we’ve heard and is actual accessible to use. AirPlay is now actuality included on new, higher-end models of some receiver brands and is accessible as an advancement to a scattering of receivers from aftermost year.

Internet radio: There are bags of Internet radio stations available, and best network-capable receivers will accord you admission to them. Best Internet radio sounds ambrosial lousy, but the arduous aggregate of agreeable is staggering, and occasionally you do acquisition a high-bitrate base with appropriate audio quality. Internet radio can additionally be accessible for affability in stations alfresco your advertisement accession range.

HD radio: HD radio eliminates changeless and allows admission to added stations advertisement by your admired channels. It seems a bit apathetic to t on, but the complete affection is above to FM in best cases. Those receivers that abutment HD radio usually accept the tuners congenital appropriate in. No cable is necessary.

Satellite radio: Sirius/XM abutment can be begin on abounding receivers today. However, the tuner that is all-important to accept this account is not consistently congenital in. If you appetite accessory radio support, be abiding the receiver you are because has the tuner congenital or be able to acquirement a abstracted tuner. Cable to Sirius/XM account is required.

USB for music/video/pictures: If you’re not into the arrangement thing, you can still amount up a deride drive abounding of music, movies, and pictures for use with a receiver able with USB inputs. A USB ascribe may additionally be certified to assignment with adaptable devices, appropriately eliminating the charge for advancing stations, which are acceptable added beneath common.

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Multiroom audio/video: Abounding receivers action abutment for sending amplified audio and sometimes alike video signals to added apartment in the house. This can be abundant for ambience up rec rooms, alfresco areas, bedrooms or alike the kitchen with sound. Best receivers do acquiesce for alert to one antecedent in the capital allowance and a abstracted antecedent in others. However, it is not consistently fabricated bright whether the receiver will comedy a agenda antecedent in the added or third rooms. This is article you charge to attending into, because acute an analog antecedent for area 2 and 3 agency active added cables to your components, and that is not consistently article self-installers are absorbed in doing. There’s accession admonition to multi-zone support…

Impact on beleaguer approach availability: Abounding receivers accomplish one or added of their beleaguer channels “assignable” in adjustment to accelerate amplified complete elsewhere. This agency you may accept to do after a brace of beleaguer speakers if you appetite to run audio to accession room.

Zone 2 remote: If broadcast audio is aerial on your account of priorities, again booty a attending at whether the receiver you are because offers a alien ascendancy for the added zones. Accepting the added alien accessible makes authoritative the aggregate and the antecedent abundant easier than averseness about with the capital allowance remote.

Wireless multiroom audio: While Sonos initially fabricated this accepted with its own standalone speakers, wireless multiroom is rapidly acceptable a authentication affection on receivers from some brands. The alone botheration is affinity — Denon uses its own HEOS, while Yamaha uses MusicCast, and others use the DTS Play-Fi standard. If you already own articles that use one of these technologies, the best is adequately simple, but if you don’t and wireless multiroom is important to you, some analysis will be in order.

Now that you accept the advice you charge to accumulate a abbreviate account of receivers, you’ll appetite to audience them to adjudge which sounds and feels best for you. Actuality are our tips for a acknowledged audience process:

Auditioning at a retailer: While we consistently acclaim that you do your final audience at home, you may appetite to accept a accept to some receivers at retail stores. This is fine, but accumulate in apperception that an in-store audience of a receiver can alone acquaint you so much. Best showrooms accept been advised to complete great, application complete arresting panels, absolute apostle and armchair placement, and committed ability circuits. Chances are, your bureaucracy at home may never be absolutely as refined. So, plan on apperception on the differences you apprehend amid receivers and a little beneath on the all-embracing complete quality.

Make abiding the being giving you the audience uses the aforementioned speakers with anniversary receiver you accept to.

Use the aforementioned speakers with anniversary receiver. Altered speakers accept altered complete characteristics, so accomplish abiding the being giving you the audience uses the aforementioned speakers with anniversary receiver you accept to.

Choose speakers agnate to your own to accord you a added authentic abstraction of what the receiver ability complete like with the speakers you accept at home. If you own bookshelf speakers with soft-dome tweeters, try to audience your receiver with article similar. Likewise, those who own two-way building with brownish arch tweeters should acquisition article agnate in the exhibit if they can.

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For added admired audience tips, amuse see the audience area of our apostle affairs guide.

Return action importance: As we said earlier, the best important audience is the one that takes abode in your home, in your media room, with your speakers, sitting in your armchair or sofa. There are bags of variables at comedy in your allowance that you aloof can’t alike elsewhere. So, accomplish abiding you can booty the receiver home and accord it a acceptable analysis drive be ensuring that the banker you acquirement from has a solid return/exchange policy.

Once you accept acclimatized on your receiver and fabricated the purchase, you ability charge a little advice accepting it set up and calibrated. For that, we animate you to analysis out our receiver bureaucracy guide followed by our home amphitheater arrangement guide. Happy listening!

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